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These articles were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on
February 24, 1999. All rights reserved.
Cloning is a metaphor and a mirror," writes New
York Times science reporter Gina Kolata in her book "Clone,"
published last year. "It allows us to look at ourselves and our
values and to decide what is important to us and why. It also reflects
the place of science in our world. Do we see science as a threat or
a promise? What would it do to us as a people to think that the rich
could have replacement parts?"
These are some of the questions to be addressed by the first international
student bioethics conference on Friday and Saturday, February 26 and
27, at Princeton University. For information call 609-258-3371.
Ian Wilmut, scientist at the Roslin Institute in Scotland and
cloner of the sheep, Dolly, speaks on Friday at 8 p.m in Richardson
Auditorium. On Saturday, Roy Vagelos, chairman of the University
of Pennsylvania board of trustees and former chairman of Merck and
Co., and Steve Fodor, president and CEO of Affymetrix Inc.,
the company that developed the GeneChip system, will be the keynote
speakers in McCosh 50.
Panelists include Kolata and Princeton University professors Leon
Rosenberg, Lee Silver, Burton Singer, and Shirley Tilghman.
From other ivory towers will come John Arras and James Childress,
from University of Virginia; Daniel W. Brock, Brown University;
Robert M. Donaldson Jr., Yale Medical School; Norm Fost,
University of Wisconsin-Madison; Rebecca Holmes-Farley, Boston
University; Allen Keller, New York University; Daniel Kevles,
California Institute of Technology; Donald Light, University
of Pennsylvania; Ruth Macklin, Albert Einstein College of Medicine;
Greg Pence, University of Alabama; Lainie Ross, University
of Chicago; Mark Sagoff, University of Maryland; and Bonnie
Steinbock, State University of New York.
Judy Chambers, Monsanto Corporation; Carl Feldbaum, Biotechnology
Industry Organization; Audiey C. Kao, American Medical Association;
and Lois Wingerson, author and editor of HMS Beagle, will also
present their views on the subject.
Ian Wilmut developed the technology for preserving frozen embryos,
which is now widely used in animal breeding and in-vitro fertilization
(U.S. 1, March 5, 1997 and January 21, 1998). His company, an offshoot
of a government-funded research laboratory, was interested in cloning
to further its work in transgenic animals, which are animals genetically
engineered for medical purposes, such as producing medically useful
proteins in their milk or even growing organs that may be able to
be used as transplants in humans.
To clone Dolly, Wilmut and his colleagues took a mammary gland cell
from a six-year-old sheep, and by depriving the cell of nutrients
in the laboratory put the cell’s DNA into a semi-dormant state. Wilmut
then removed the nucleus of a sheep egg cell taken from a different
ewe, and inserted the mammary cell into the now nucleus-free egg cell.
Wilmut then zapped the two combined cells with a jolt of electricity,
and to general amazement the combined cells acted like a fertilized
egg cell and began to divide, using the DNA from the mammary cell
as its genetic blueprint. He then implanted the now developing embryo
into yet another ewe, and in a few months Dolly was born, an exact
genetic copy of the ewe from which the mammary cell had been taken.
This technique threw into question previously accepted theories about
the nature of DNA. Scientists had believed that once DNA was in a
specialized cell — such as a mammary gland cell, a nerve cell,
or a muscle cell — it had lost its ability to issue the generalized
commands for all kinds of cells required to create an embryo, and
from that a whole animal. Although scientists had already cloned embryos,
and although Wilmut himself previously took the nucleus from the cell
of a developing embryo and successfully implanted it in an unfertilized
egg cell, few believed cloning using DNA from a specialized cell,
as was achieved by Wilmut with Dolly, was possible.
Kolata, the Princeton-based author and science reporter, will lead
one of the precepts on Friday. Research on cloning could result in
wonderful new drug factories, Kolata points out. A Dolly-like cloned
sheep or cow could be cloned with a gene that would produce a particular
drug in the milk. Instead of paying millions of dollars for each teaspoon
of the drug, the cow would produce pails of it. Or cloning could allow
someone to have their own bone marrow cloned. It could allow the creation
of a new organ with no danger of rejection.
Take the case of a mother who desperately needed a kidney for her
15-year-old daughter and had another baby so she could donate one
of the baby’s kidneys to her older sister. How different is that,
ethically, from cloning a kidney?
But the "just suppose" possibilities fascinate her nonetheless.
Even now, would-be parents can choose an egg donor and choose a sperm
donor, have the fertilized egg implanted in a uterus, and have an
"almost just-like-us" baby. But Kolata poses the question,
"Suppose I can add a gene that is resistant to Alzheimer’s, how
is that different from a vaccination against Alzheimer’s? Each of
us will draw the line in different places."
— Barbara Figge Fox
<B>Michael D. Becker compares Internet stocks with
biotechnology companies in 1991. "Any investor who purchased these
stocks near their peaks in late 1991 would have to wait many years
in order to get their initial investment back — if ever,"
writes Becker, a bear on Internet companies if ever there were one.
Becker speaks to the Biotechnology Council of New Jersey on Wednesday,
March 3, at 8:30 a.m., at the Marriott. Cost: $50. Call 609-890-3185.
Becker, an investment executive and analyst at Chicago-based Wayne
Hummer Investments LLC, wrote those remarks as editor of his newsletter
"Beck on Bio Tech" available by E-mail at email@example.com
or by calling 800-621-4477.
Becker lists some gruesome examples, illustrative of his grim warning.
But he notes some "unlikely investors" are putting their money
down on public biotech companies, "investors who typically don’t
even buy publicly traded companies." By this he means venture
capitalists. "Clearly, when investors who traditionally look for
`ground floor’ opportunities start to purchase stock in publicly traded
companies, they must see tremendous value."
Becker’s newsletter cited Liposome as an example of a company that
looks good because of its "robust" pipeline. Liposome recently
announced that it would report its first quarterly profit in its 17-year
Has the Internet revolutionized the way your organization
does business? Does your organization have a leading-edge website
or E-Commerce site? Does your website bring something valuable and
exciting to your users? Is your organization, through its leadership,
accomplishments, and contributions, driving the Internet industry
Technology New Jersey will recognize companies with the Internet Excellence
Award and the Internet Innovator Award. If you feel you qualify, visit
http://www.technologynj.org and fill out the nomination form
by Sunday, February 28.
Judges include representatives from Apple Computer, Dow Jones Interactive,
Lucent Technologies, New Jersey Online, PricewaterhouseCoopers, TranSys,
and U.S. 1 Newspaper. Winners will be announced at the TNJ Awards
for Internet Excellence Gala held on Tuesday, April 27, at the Hyatt.
For more information call Grace Polhemus at 609-419-4444 or
NJ’s Leading Edge
In the midst of global economic turmoil and French president
Jacques Chirac’s talk of the need for rapid reform of the international
financial system if world growth is to continue, how is New Jersey’s
economy faring? "Economically, it doesn’t get much better than
this," says James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein
School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers and one of the state’s
best known economic prognosticators.
On Friday, February 26, at 8 a.m., Hughes will give his version of
the economic forecast to the Middlesex Chamber at DeVry Institute
on Route 1 North in North Brunswick. Also on the program are Joseph
Gonzales Jr., who will present the results of a survey taken by
the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, and Business News
New Jersey’s George Taber, who will moderate. Cost: $15. Call
Hughes is a nationally recognized academic expert on demographics,
housing, and regional economics, and since 1988 he has been the director
of the Rutgers Regional Report. This report "studies the economy,
demographics, and housing, both in New Jersey and the tri-state region,"
Hughes explains. The tri-state region covers 31 counties in New York,
north central New Jersey, and Connecticut. For the next report, studies
are being done on something very germane to Route 1: New Jersey’s
emerging wealth belt. "It’s really a shift of population, wealth,
and jobs from the older portions of the state to the central portions,"
Hughes says. The report is expected to be out late this spring (http://www.policy.rutgers.edu.)
Jointly with Sitar Company Oncor International real estate services,
the Bloustein School published this month’s Sitar-Rutgers Regional
Report. Hughes and Joseph J. Seneca coauthored an article "Surprising
Economic Momentum." A free copy is available by calling 732-283-9000
or go to http://www.sitarcompany.com.
Before being appointed dean, Hughes was the chair and graduate director
of the Rutgers Department of Urban Planning from 1983 to 1988. A Rutgers
graduate, Class of ’65, he has authored or coauthored 32 books and
monographs. He has also written more than 125 articles, most of these
on housing, demographics, and economic development patterns. His latest
monograph, "Regional Economic Long Waves," takes a long, historical
look at the long waves and shifts of economic change — both in
New Jersey and the tri-state region — from the late 1960s to the
"The broad region has been losing position nationally," says
Hughes. "Throughout both growth periods and recessionary periods,
the 31-county region, the three states in total, has been lagging
the nation. So, we have been losing a share among the nation’s population
in jobs," says Hughes.
"Second, within the region, New Jersey has been the outstanding
performer, but we still have lagged the nation in general. Allied
to that is the suburban ring of New Jersey, the metropolitan periphery,
the suburban counties. Even though the region’s lagging, it has outperformed
the nation as a whole, so we have the differential pattern of suburbanization
in there," continues Hughes.
"And then the structure of the economy has changed dramatically
in that the economy has become narrower. Once we were a manufacturing
region. Now we are under represented in manufacturing relative to
the nation." New Jersey has a far higher degree of concentration
in services than in the nation as a whole, "so we’ve essentially
reinvented the economy over the past three and a half decades,"
In particular, two things have facilitated much of the state’s economic
change: the high quality and the high education level of the work
force and the coming of the information age economy. "We’ve become
really a post-industrial, knowledge-based, information-dependent economy,"
says Hughes. "So, we’re really at the nation’s leading edge."
The information age has incorporated computer technology into all
dimensions of the economy, but despite the importance of computers
in our information-age economy, Hughes foresees no major problems
concerning the possible upcoming Y2K Crisis. "I’m sort of confused
by it — like everybody else, because I think the major problems
are going to be the little ones that we can’t foresee. But I think
our major systems should survive," he says.
Demographic change, as well as both the changing economy and the regional
economy, has favorably impacted the New Jersey housing market. "New
Jersey is a slow growth state, so our housing industry is extraordinarily
profitable right now — for homebuilders — even though the
actual number of units being built lags what we did in the 1980s,
1970s, and 1960s. Overall, the volume of home sales nationally is
at record levels; in New Jersey, it’s the best housing year since
the 1980s, in terms of sales," says Hughes. "From 1980 to
’88 home prices from ’80 to ’88 nationally went up 45 percent; in
New Jersey they went up by 145 percent.
"Capital investment has been one of the major locomotives of economic
growth," says Hughes. "The low interest rates, the performance
of the stock market, initial public offerings, and the like have been
wonderful for capital investment for the corporate sector."
While the recent Russian default and the ongoing problems with the
Japanese economy initially seemed to threaten our economy, the greater
potential for economic danger for the United States — and New
Jersey — would be the collapse of South American currencies. Despite
all this worldwide global economic turmoil, however, "the economic
fundamentals of the state are as good as they’ve been in the past
generation," says Hughes. "There’s no inflation; interest
rates are low; unemployment is extraordinarily low; job growth and
incomes have been strong; and we have an economy that really is at
the leading edge of the nation of the information era."
"It’s February. It’s the 95th month of economic expansion nationally,
so we are now in the longest peacetime expansion ever, and it’s the
second longest expansion ever," explains Hughes. "The longest
one was the 106 months of ’61 to ’69. So in January, 2000, we will
have tied that 106-month mark. So, if we make it — and I think
we will — to next February, we will be in uncharted territory.
It will be the longest expansion in the nation’s history."
— Catherine J. Barrier
Women-owned enterprises can qualify for loans up to
$250,000 under programs offered by the New Jersey Economic Development
Authority. The EDA provides financing for small businesses, minority
owned, and women owned enterprises to float loans that average $40,000
to $50,000. The EDA joins with Trenton Business Assistance Corporation
and area banks to participate in lending partnerships for the Women’s
Prequalification Program or the Merchant Loan Program, which allows
loans up to $250,000 to be packaged for pre-approval by the Small
Beth E. Sztuk, deputy director, New Jersey Economic Development
Authority (NJEDA), will discuss "Financing Programs and Services
for the Beginning Business," on Wednesday, February 24, at 7:45
a.m. at the Nassau Club for the Princeton YWCA’s Business/Professional
Women’s Breakfast Series. Price: $20. Call 609-252-2006 or 609-497-2103
Sztuk majored in sociology at Muhlenberg College and has an MBA in
finance from Seton Hall; she also went to the Wharton School’s Advanced
Management Program. She has been a paralegal coordinator with a Newark-based
law firm, a financial analyst in Philadelphia, and an assistant vice
president at Financial Services Corp. of New York. Sztuk was a principal
with Government and Financial Services, an accounting business that
consults to New Jersey-based governments and public authorities, and
assistant director of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Sztuk joined the EDA in 1994; she manages the Authority’s $10 million
budget and has been responsible for the $2.5 million venture capital
investment, and for the $20 million loan fund recapitalization. For
more EDA information, call 609-292-1800; fax, 609-292-5722, http://www.njeda.com.
Most banks are not comfortable with adding debt to businesses that
have less than a five-year track record, says Sztuk, but businesses
that have been up and running for at least one year can qualify for
the EDA Loan Pool.
Under this program, the EDA ranks second to the bank lenders in terms
of who gets paid first if the business fails. The bank can choose
to have the EDA guarantee part of the loan (agreeing to step in in
case of failure) or participate in the loan (providing up front money
at a lower interest rate.)
Applicants should provide financial statements and projections and
realistic sales projections and how you will achieve those projections.
If you need $100,000 for equipment, the EDA "buys" a $25,000
piece of the loan, and on this piece the interest rate is below market.
This lower interest rate would save you $1,000, which you could use
for buying more materials or for inventory.
The EDA also provides direct loans of up to $500,000 for fixed assets
and up to $250,000 for working capital for up to 10 years.
The SBA 504 Certified Development Company Program funds up to $750,000
for existing businesses to secure long term fixed rate financing for
major fixed assets like land, building, machinery, etc. That usually
includes 40 percent from the SBA, 50 percent from a bank, and 10 percent
from the owner. The interest is 8 or 9 percent on the SBA money and
the bank’s rate on its money. This program enables the entrepreneur
to get involved in projects that exceed the SBA’s $750,000 limit.
Sztuk was responsible for the recertification of EDA as one of two
certified development companies that can process the SBA 504 loans.
Show Some `Skin’
<B>Fred Beste speaks on "12 Show Me Keys to Attracting
Seed-Stage Capital" and Dan Conley speaks on "Avoiding
the 10 Deadly Sins of Raising Capital" on a program entitled "Raising
Venture Capital: Lessons from the Battlefield" sponsored by the
New Jersey Local Committee of the Licensing Executives Society (LES),
on Wednesday, February 24, at 6 p.m., at the Basking Ridge Country
Club, 185 Madison Road. Cost $30. Call 908-953-8092.
Also speaking on the panel are John Park, general partner and
CFO of the Nassau Street-based Cardinal Health Partners, and Ira
Pastor, director of business development at Photosynthetic Harvest
Inc. of Willingboro.
Beste represents the Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds (610-865-6660). Venture
capitalists, he says, want you to show them some `team skin’ in the
game. Don’t ask a VC for money if you and your people haven’t laid
your own money on the line. He also wants you to show him that your
venture has the following attributes:
One of the major mistakes that entrepreneurs make is to assume that
a "good idea" is also a money-making idea. Too often, it’s
The Professional Engineers Society of Mercer County
will honor Dirk C. Hofman with the "Engineer of the Year"
award at its awards dinner on Saturday, February 27, at 6.30 p.m.
at the Hopewell Valley Golf Club. Cost: $60. Call Rich Williams
Hofman is executive director of the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure
Trust, an independent authority created to finance the construction
and improvement of wastewater facilities and drinking water projects.
Hofman has almost four decades of experience working with water resources.
The "Young Engineer of the Year" award will be presented to
Steven M. Arbiz, a lead highway engineer for Parsons Brinckerhoff
– FG Inc., who has been involved with the design and coordination
of multidisciplinary projects for the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Arbiz is currently leading the Parsons Brinckerhoff highway design
efforts for the proposed replacement of the Route 1 and 9 T viaduct
in Jersey City.
Catherine DiCostanzo, Mercer County’s first woman county clerk
will be presented with the "Citizen of the Year" award. She
is also president of the Mercer County Chapter of the Sunshine Foundation,
engaged in granting the dreams and wishes of terminally ill, chronically
ill, and handicapped children.
The Hamilton Rail Station and Bus Maintenance Facility will be honored
with the "Project of the Year" award. These two new facilities
of the Hamilton Transit Complex will be critical to the bus and rail
operations of New Jersey Transit in central New Jersey. New Jersey
Transit, Michael Baker Jr. Inc., and R.M. Shoemaker Company will receive
the award for the project.
For freelance journalists or for just anybody interested
in journalism, the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional
Journalists (SPJ) presents a seminar that promises to answer a lot
of frequently asked questions. For instance, what makes a freelance
journalist — in print, broadcast, or photography — indispensable
to an editor?
The Freelance Journalism Seminar (SPJ) will be held on Saturday, February
27, at 10 a.m. at the Eagleton Institute of Rutgers University in
New Brunswick. Cost: $20 ($10 for students). Call Maureen Nevins
Duffy at 732-985-0720 for more information.
You can learn the ropes or simply compare notes with freelance writers,
editors, and photographers. Panelists include editorial representatives
from the print and electronic media as well as freelance panelists
such as Patricia Lawler, TV producer and on-air reporter; Penny
O. Shaul, desk-top publishing editor; and photojournalist Marie
Editorial panelists include Michael St. Peter, assistant news
editor for WOR-TV; Kathleen Casey, travel editor for the Star
Ledger; Alex Saville, an editor with the Princeton Packet; Chris
Hahn, senior editor of NJ Monthly; Diana Lasseter Drake,
managing editor of Business News New Jersey; Anthony Birritteri,
managing editor of New Jersey Business; and Hank Williams, managing
editor of News 12 NJ.
The New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
works to improve conditions for the journalistic community in New
Jersey. It is the only organization in New Jersey dedicated to the
interests of journalists and people in related fields, including reporters,
editors, producers, public information officers, freelancers, publication,
and radio/TV/cable owners, and anyone else who works to disseminate
The panelists will discuss such topics as what editors want in a story
or assignment pitch, where the freelance editing jobs are, and how
the Internet is being utilized by journalists both for sales and for
Other panels will cover what national magazines and local papers expect
of today’s photographers, what editors expect freelancers to have
in the way of technology, such as E-mail, and what freelancers should
expect in the way of rates and payment practices.
All those who deal with volunteers in any way, shape,
or form are invited to a quarterly meeting of Mercer County Directors
of Volunteers in Agencies, otherwise known as Dovia. A "round
robin" participatory session on recruitment/retention and recognition
of volunteers will be held on Tuesday, March 2, at 8:30 a.m. at Community
Hospice, 171 Jersey Street, in Trenton. Call Caryl Tipton at
The Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies at
Fairleigh Dickinson University invites student entrepreneurs to compete
for the New Jersey Collegiate Entrepreneur Awards. This program, affiliated
with the North American Collegiate Entrepreneur Awards competition
sponsored by St. Louis University in Missouri, is open to undergraduate
students in colleges, universities, technical, or career schools in
New Jersey, who run their own businesses.
"With the continuing role of entrepreneurship in our society,
it’s appropriate to recognize and encourage young people who have
started and are running their own businesses while still pursuing
their education," says Leo Rogers, director of Rothman Institute.
Last year’s best collegiate entrepreneurs attended Drew, Rider, and
The winner of the New Jersey competition will compete with winners
from other states in the North American competition, where the first
place award is $5,000. The sponsors of the competition are Bell Atlantic
and GPU Energy.
The deadline for applications is March 2. Winners will be announced
and honored on April 29. Call James Barrood, assistant director
of the Rothman Institute, at 973-443-8887 for more information. Call
the institute for applications at 973-443-8842, or request them via
The Retiree Chapter of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local
731 is offering free educational and computer skills classes for active
retirees in the Burlington, Mercer, and Bucks County area.
A Joint Skills and Development Center formed under a UAW-General Motors
Contract Agreement provides the following courses free of charge to
any active UAW-General Motors retirees: Introduction to the Personal
Computers using Windows 95, Windows 95, Word 97 (Beginning and Intermediate),
Excel 97 (Beginning and Intermediate).
"It’s never too late to start learning," says program administrator
Jim DiCello. "Over 36 retirees have attended these classes
and there are plenty more who can enjoy and benefit from them."
Classes administered through the Mercer County Community College are
held once a week for 10 weeks at the UAW/GM Transition Center in Lawrence
Township. Call DiCello at 609-912-0707 for more information.
Accountants from Druker, Rahl, and Fein prepared income
tax returns for seniors at Trent Center Apartments East and West in
Trenton for three hours on Thursday, February 18. "The firm promotes
this type of volunteerism with the purpose of developing accounting
professionals who understand their responsibility to volunteer their
time and unique skills to help members of the community in need,"
says Gene Elias, a principal at the firm.
The volunteer program is being coordinated through Accountants for
the Public Interest – New Jersey, a non-profit organization that provides
financial services and education to disadvantaged individuals, special
groups in the community, and other non-profits. Call 732-249-7666
for more information.
Corrections or additions?
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